And he answered me, saying: The most Highest made this world for many, but the world to come for few. I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras: As when thou asketh the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould, where earthen vessels are made, but little of it that gold cometh of. Even so is it with the works of this world. There be many created, but few shall be preserved. Then answered I and said: Then swallow up the wit ( thou soul ) and devour the understanding, for thou art agreed to harken and to give ear, and willingly to prophesy: for thou hast no longer space given thee, but only to live. O' Lord, wilt thou not give thy servant leaven, that we may pray before thee, and that thou mayest give seed unto our heart, and build our understanding, that there may come fruit of it: and that everyone which is corrupt, and beareth the state and place of man, may live?
For thou art alone, and we all are one workmanship of thy hands, like as thou hast said, and like as the body is fashioned now in the childbed, and thou givest the members, and thy creature is preserved in fire and water: and nine months doth thy work suffer thy creature, which is fashioned in her: but the thing that is present and the thing that is preserved, shall both be kept together: and when time is, the childbed deliver the thing, that is kept and grown in her.
For thou hast commanded the breasts to give milk unto the fruit, that the thing that is created and fashioned, may be nourished for a time: and then thou disposest and orderest it with thy mercy, bringest it up with thy righteousness; nurturest it in thy law, and reformest it with thy understanding, mortifiest it as thy creature, and makest it living as thy work. Seeing then that thou destroyest him, which with so great labors is created and fashioned through thy commandment, thou couldest lightly order, also that the thing which is made, might be preserved.
And this I speak now of all men in general, as thou knowest: but of thy people, for whose sake I am sorry: and of thy inheritance: for whose cause I mourn: and of Israel, for whom I am woeful: and for Jacob, for whos sake I am grieved: therefore begin I to pray before thee, for myself and for them, for I see the fall of us even of us, that dwell upon earth. But I have heard the swiftness of the judge, which is to come: therefore hear my voice, and understand my words, and I shall speak before thee.
This is the beginning of the words of Esdras before he was received: O' Lord, thou that dwellest in everlastingness, whose eyes are lifted up in the air, whose stool is exceedingly high, whose glory and majesty may not be comprehended, before whom the Host of heaven stand with trembling, whose keeping is turned in wind and fire, whose word is true, whose talking is steadfast, whose commandment is strong, whose ordinance is fearful, whose look drieth up the depths, whose wrath maketh the mountains to melt away, and whose truth beareth witness: O' hear the prayer of thy servant, and mark with thy ears the petition of thy creature.
For while I live, I will speak, and so long as I have understanding, I will answer. O' look not upon the sins of thy people, which serve in the truth. Have no respect for the wicked studies of the Heathen, but to the desire of those that keep thy testimonies with sorrows. Think not upon those that have walked *feintly before thee, but upon them, which with will have known thy fear.
Let it not be thy will to destroy them, which have had beastly manners, but to look upon them that have clearly taught thy law. Take thou no indignation at them, which are worse then beasts: but love them, that always put their trust in thy righteousness and glory: for we and our fathers have all the same sickness and disease, but because of our sins thou shalt be called merciful.
For thou hast mercy upon us thou shalt be called merciful, where as we have no works of righteousness: for the righteous which have laid up many good works together, shall out of their deeds receive reward. For what is a man, that thou shouldest displeasure at him? Or what is the corruptible generation, that thou shouldest be so rough toward him?
For of truth there is no man among them that be born, but he hath dealt wickedly: and among the faithful there is none, which hath not done amiss. For in this ( O' Lord ) thy righteousness and thy goodness shall be praised and declared, if thou be merciful unto them, which are not rich in good works.
Then answered he me and said: Some things hast thou spoken right and according unto thy words it shall be. For I will not verily consider the works of them, which have sinned before death, before the judgement, before destruction, but I will rejoice over the work and thought of the righteous, the holy making and the reward. Like as I have spoken now, so shall it come to pass. For as the husband man soweth much seed upon the ground, and planteth many trees, and yet always the thing that is sown or planted is not all kept safe, neither does it all take root: Even so is it of them that are sown in the world, they shall not all be preserved.
I answered then and said: If I have found grace, then let me speak. Like as the husband man seed perisheth, if it not receive rain in due season, or if there come to much rain upon it: Even so perisheth a man also, which is created with thy hands, and is like unto thine own image and to thy self, for whos sake thou hast made all things, and likened him unto the husband mans seed. Be not wroth at us, O' Lord, but spare thy people, and have mercy upon thine own inheritance: O' be merciful unto thy creature.
Then answered he me and said: Things present are for the present, and things to come for as such as be to come. For thou wantest yet much, seeing thou may lovest my creature above me: I have often times drawn near unto thee, but never to the unrighteous. In this also thou art marvelous before the Highest, in that thou has humbled thy self, as it becometh thee, and hast not regarded thine own self, that thou art had in such honor among the righteous. Therefore shall great wretchedness and misery come upon them, that in the later time shall dwell in the world, for they have walked in great pride.
But understand thou for thyself, and seek out glory for such as be like thee: for unto you paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the time to come is prepared, plenteousness is made ready: a city is builded for you, and a rest is prepared, yee perfect goodness and wisdom. The root of evil is marked from you, the weakness and moth is hid from you, and into hell flyeth corruption in forgetfulness. Sorrows are vanished away, and in that end is shown the treasure of immortality. And therefore ask no more questions, concerning the multitude of them that perish. For they have taken liberty, despised the Highest, thought scorn of his law, and forsaken his ways.
Moreover they have trodden down his righteousness, and said in their heart, that there is no God, yee and that wittingly, for they die. For like as the thing that I have spoken of, is made ready for you: Even so is thirst and pain prepared for them. For it was not his will that man should come to naught: but they which be created have defiled the name of him that made them, and are unthankful unto him, which prepared life for them. And therefore is my judgement now at hand. These things have I not showed unto all men, but unto few: namely unto thee, and such as be like thee.
Then answered I and said: Behold O' Lord, now hast thou showed me the multitude of thy tokens, which thou wilt begin to do at the last but at what time and when thou hast not showed me.